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Expansion Worker Visa UK

A UK Expansion Worker visa, aka global business mobility visa, permits a skilled worker to enter the United Kingdom for the purpose of setting up an established overseas business that has not started trading in the UK yet.

If you have any questions regarding the UK expansion worker route and the UK expansion worker visas, please contact our expert team of immigration lawyers to discuss any concerns you may have, call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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    What Is The Eligibility For The UK Expansion Worker Visa?

    To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa you need to:

    • Have a valid certificate of  sponsorship from your overseas business/employer
    • Have worked for your employer outside the UK. You must have worked for your employer outside of the UK for at least 12 months unless you’re either earning more than £73,900 or are a Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company that is expanding to the UK
    • Work a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations, which you can check here.
    • Meet the minimum salary requirements for your job, which is at least £42,400 per year or the “going rate” for your job – whichever is higher. Please note that every occupation code has its own annual going rate.
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    What Is Permitted With UK Expansion Worker Visas?

    With a UK Expansion Worker visa you are permitted to do the following:

    • Work for your UK sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship.
    • Study.
    • Bring your partner and dependent children with you, if they’re eligible.
    • Do voluntary work and unpaid work.
    • Travel abroad freely and return to the UK.

    Per the immigration rules, the following activities are not permitted on the UK expansion worker visa:

    • Apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
    • Change jobs, unless you are eligible
    • Hold a second job
    • Apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

    What Is A Valid Certificate Of Sponsorship From Your Employer?

    Your employer – also known as your sponsor – will provide you with an electronic  ‘certificate of sponsorship’ that includes details about the role you will do in the UK.

    You’ll need the reference number from the certificate of sponsorship for your visa application. You must apply for your visa within 3 months of getting your certificate of sponsorship. In the instance that your employer is not currently approved to be a UK sponsor, they can apply for a sponsor licence.

    To be eligible for a UK expansion worker sponsor licence application, the employing organisation must be a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business and the business has no UK trading presence yet within the UK.

    Should a linked overseas employer want to send a senior manager or specialist employee to the UK on a temporary work assignment for overseas businesses that are already trading in the UK, they should apply for a different UK visa, such as a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, or even a Skilled Worker visa.

    What Is The Visa Application Process For A UK Expansion Worker Visa?

    To apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa, the applicant must complete an online application, using their Certificate of sponsorship reference number. They can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day that they’re due to start work in the UK.

    Next, is that they must prove their identity and provide the documents necessary. They may also need to attend an appointment to do this and to provide their biometric information.

    Once the applicant has proved their identity, provided their documents and paid the relevant fee, a decision should be made in 3 weeks if outside the UK, and 8 weeks if inside the UK.

    What Are The Documents Necessary For A UK Expansion Worker Visa?

    There are a number of documents needed for the UK expansion worker visa. These documents include:

    • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number – your employer will give you this
    • A valid passport or another document that shows your identity and nationality
    • Your eligible job title and annual salary
    • Your job’s occupation code
    • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship
    • Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, for example, bank statements
    • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
    • Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country

    If these documents are not already English or Welsh, you’ll also need to provide a certified translation.

    Depending on your situation, you may be required to also provide the following for the UK expansion worker visa:

    • Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK
    • A valid ATAS certificate – if your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher

    You’ll need a blank page in your passport for your visa if you need to give your biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph) at a visa application centre.

    We can help with your UK Expansion Worker visa application. Contact us

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      What Is The Application Fee For A UK Expansion Worker Visa?

      There are various costs involved with a  UK Expansion Worker visa.

      In addition to needing funds of at least £1,270, where applicable, the applicant must pay an application fee of £259 as well as the immigration health surcharge of £624, every year.

      How Long Does A UK Expansion Visa Last?

      The amount of time the visa will last is whichever is shorter than 12 months after the start date of the job on the sponsorship certificate and 14 days after the end date of that job. If the UK Expansion Worker is looking to stay longer in the UK, they are permitted to extend their visa, but only by 12 months.

      The maximum time that an individual can stay in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa is 2 years.

      However, it is very important to note that UK expansion workers are subject to the maximum period for other UK visas.

      This means that if they have spent time in the UK on this or another visa, they might not be eligible to remain in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa because visa holders may only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6-year period if they’ve spent time on any of the other visas, or as an Intra-company graduate trainee or intra-company transferee.

      The UK Expansion Worker route does not lead to settlement in the UK. However, a senior or specialist employee might be able to apply for leave to remain under a different immigration route, which is something our team can support you with.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      Total Law is a qualified team of immigration lawyers that are certified by the solicitors regulation authority and are experts in this immigration route and can provide excellent support on any requirements or questions about the UK expansion worker visa. Our immigration team are able to advise you on sponsorship obligations, UK business, job skill level requirements and plenty more!

      You can contact us anytime to discuss the UK expansion worker visa and will work closely with you to help.

      We are open seven days a week, call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

      If you have any questions about the UK expansion worker route, our team can help you. Contact us

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Before the overseas business is able to send their employees to the UK with the goal to set up a UK branch,  must apply for a Sponsor Licence, which they can do online.

                  The sponsor can offer sponsorship to the number of workers that are genuinely needed to establish the UK presence of the business, and this will be a maximum of five workers at any one time.

                  Yes – if you have a dependent spouse or partner, or any dependent children under the age of 18, they are able to accompany you into the UK, and their visa will be valid for the same time as the primary visa holder.

                  In this instance, you’ll be required to apply to update your UK Expansion Worker visa if your job changes to a different occupation code. However, you must have the same employer.

                  If you brought dependents with you on the visa to the UK, your partner or children will need to apply separately to update their visa, too.

                  Expansion Worker Visa minimum salary is £42,400 or the ‘going rate’ for their job role (whichever is the higher amount). The going rate is considered the average annual gross salary for your job role in the UK.  Further, you will need proof you have a minimum of £1,270 in your bank as support funds and they must have been in your account for at least 28 days prior to applying. Those who have already been in the UK for 12 months or more may not need to meet this requirement.